A quick and hostile legal challenge is expected, after the Seattle City Council voted 5-3 to place an income tax on the highest earners in the city.

Embattled Mayor Ed Murray, who's not seeking re-election due to sexual assault allegations, supported this idea and so do other council members.

The City Council voted 5-3 to enact a 2.25 percent income tax on single people making total incomes of $250,000 or higher, and on couples who's combined income exceeds $500,000. It's the brainchild of controversial council member Kshama Sawant, who's been involved in a number of questionable political activities in the past.

Groups who oppose it, including the Washington Policy Center, the State Republican Party and the Freedom Foundation, are ready to challenge it in court, according to the Seattle Times.

The tax would be supposedly used to lower property taxes and what supporters call regressive taxes, address homelessness, provide housing, and yes, address climate change. One supporter named Carissa Knipe, who's a software developer, told the council during the public comment time "I would love to be taxed."  She makes, according to the Seattle Times, $170,000 a year.

The measure violates at least three laws:

  • The State Constitution says taxes must be uniformly applied within a class of property
  • Cities must have the legal authority to enact such taxes, and
  • A 1984 state law forbids cities from taxing net income--which relates to #2.

Some say the City may try to tapdance around those by claiming it's ok to tax total income and not net, and try to get a ruling saying that a person's income is not their property. Wow.